SUE FORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SUE FORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Brain death. Brain-dead patient on a life-support system. Brain death is an irreversible loss of function of the brain stem with subsequent loss of certain reflexes including respiration. An electro -encephalogram (EEG) may still detect activity in the cerebral cortex and the heart may continue to beat, although cardiac arrest within days is inevitable. Spinal reflexes, including limb move- ments, may also persist after brain death. This contrasts with the vegetative state in which the brain stem still functions but the cerebral cortex does not: patients in this state may survive for many years. This patient's brain death was due to cerebral malaria. Photographed in Vietnam.
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